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RSHP set to drop Rogers from practice name

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Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) will lose the name of its founder Richard Rogers, 84, within two years of his retirement 

The move will mark the latest phase of the practice’s ongoing succession plan, which began in earnest a decade ago when it rebadged to recognise the growing importance of Graham Stirk and Ivan Harbour in 2007.

It emerged this week that the loss of Rogers’ name is written into the firm’s constitution - at Rogers’ own request - which states that it must be removed a maximum of two years after the legendary architect stops practising.

Rogers, however, has not yet officially announced when that will be and the practice confirmed that he ’certainly had no retirement plans at the moment’.

Rogers worked with Norman Foster, Wendy Cheeseman and Su Brumwell as Team 4 in the early 1960s and subsequently with Renzo Piano in the 1970s,  before setting up his own practice, then known as the Richard Rogers Partnership, along with Marco Goldschmied, Mike Davies and John Young in 1977.

This later became RSHP and the globally famous firm, which is shortlisted for this year’s RIBA Stirling Prize, is currently celebrating the 10th anniversary of its current incarnation.

Rshp workforce

It is unknown whether any other of the practice’s partners will be added to the new name or whether it will remain as just Stirk Harbour & Partners.

Last year, the practice took another major step in its evolution by leaving its long-time base in Hammersmith to relocate to the Cheesegrater – the landmark skyscraper it designed in the City of London.

Speaking about the potential name change back in 2012, Rogers told The Guardian: ’We wanted to avoid the situation where the name of the practice is someone who died 100 years ago. Architecture is a living thing. If I want to leave something to the future, it has to be able to change – but retain something of the ethos that we built up over 50 years.’

RSHP Leadenhall  12

RSHP Leadenhall 12


Hal Currey, of HAL Architects and ex-Richard Rogers Partnership employee

This appears to be a rare case of a well-planned succession, which has allowed for evolution without revolution.

Part of the attraction of the office for young architects is the responsibility they are given from the off – engendering a common sense of ownership and engagement. At a recent party to celebrate 10 years of RSHP, Graham remarked on Richard’s bravery in making both Ivan and Graham directors at the age of 30. Continuation of the recognition and encouragement of new talent will maintain the practice’s strong ethos.

Marcus Lee, of LEEP Architects and ex-Richard Rogers Partnership employee

It will be a shame to lose the name but there is a strong logic to the evolving lineage of the practice.

A legacy remains - Many successful practices spawned . RSHP is at the top of its game under Graham and Ivan, so the move will be entirely logical . Think of Roche and Dinkeloo emerging from Saarinen’s office.

Richard has been a colossus both within the practice and the profession . As Ivan says it’s about the people and personalities. Richard will be a hard act to follow.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Old news. They announced this intention when they renamed the practice a decade ago.

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